What is 'sexting'?
- Tips for parents
- Tips for teens
- What is `sexting`?
- Misuse of the Internet - Consequences and the law
Sexting involves creating, sending, receiving, or sharing sexual messages, images and/or videos using the Internet and/or electronic devices. Commonly these types of messages are intended only for the recipient. However, the sender has little control over these messages becoming public.
It is illegal to produce, possess or distribute naked or sexually explicit pictures and/or videos of young people under 18 years of age.
Why are young people sexting?
Today, young people are more connected, mobile, and social than at any other time. More youth have access to high-tech devices including smart phones, making the creation and sharing of photos and videos easy.
Youth are sexting for many reasons including: sexual expression, looking for attention from others including someone that they are interested in romantically, as part of a romantic relationship, peer pressure, or under coercive circumstances such as power imbalance in a relationship, threats, bullying, and extortion.
What are the consequences?
Sexting can have a number of short- and long-term impacts on a young person, some of which can be very negative. These negative impacts may be:
- emotional (e.g. shame, embarrassment)
- social (e.g. reputation damage)
- criminal (e.g. criminal allegations, criminal charges, criminal record, sextortion).
What happens online can have real consequences
Should a person use social media / the Internet in a negative way, depending on the image/video used and situation, several Criminal Code Offences could apply:
- Child Pornography
- Luring a Child
- Making sexually explicit material available to a child
- Criminal Harassment
- Uttering Threats
For more info or to get help
- Kids Help Phone
- Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- Phone: 1-800-563-0808
- School counsellor and/or professional community counsellor
- Family, friends, community and youth organizations, as well as places of worship
- Ask your child what they would do if someone asks them for a sexual picture or video. The best option is for the youth not to participate. However, it might be helpful to provide tips to your child that if they did share a photo, how they can minimize the risk to themselves.
- If a youth is involved in a sexting incident, creating a home and school safety plan for her/him may be necessary. Community and/or Police-Based Victim Services may be able to provide guidance and safety planning support.
- Self/peer exploitation: A resource guide for families
- Get Cyber Safe
- A resource guide for schools – Intervention and prevention: Addressing self/peer exploitation
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